February 10, 2016

Rockwell Automation acquires conveyor supplier MagneMotion

Merger will support development of magnetically driven carts for material handling.

By Ben Ames

Industrial automation giant Rockwell Automation Inc. will acquire MagneMotion Inc., a Devens, Mass., manufacturer of intelligent conveying systems, the companies announced today.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

With customers in material handling, automotive, and packaging, MagneMotion creates process automation and transportation solutions based on a magnetic levitation (maglev) system that the company said is an efficient alternative to mechanical factory automation designs such as belt and chain conveyor systems, hydraulic actuators, and lead screw drives.

Milwaukee-based Rockwell said the acquisition would complement the technology it obtained when it acquired Jacobs Automation Inc. in 2013. Jacobs' iTRAK Motion Solution is a magnetically propelled motion-control suite for packaging, material handling, and other industrial applications.

Together, the combined stable of products will create a broad portfolio in the emerging technology area of independent cart solutions, Rockwell said.

"We see a future where the transportation of products within the factory, whether inside of a particular machine or between machines, will be fully controlled to optimize the productivity and flexibility of the entire process," Marco Wishart, vice president and general manager of Rockwell Automation's motion-control business, said in a statement.

The acquisition is expected to close this quarter, when MagneMotion will be integrated into Rockwell's motion business in its Architecture and Software segment.

About the Author

Ben Ames
Senior Editor
Ben Ames has spent 20 years as a journalist since starting out as a daily newspaper reporter in Pennsylvania in 1995. From 1999 forward, he has focused on business and technology reporting for a number of trade journals, beginning when he joined Design News and Modern Materials Handling magazines. Ames is author of the trail guide "Hiking Massachusetts" and is a graduate of the Columbia School of Journalism.

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